Kuwait shuts mosques over Covid-19

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s religious authorities asked Muslims to pray at home on Friday as the emirate prepares to enter a period of virtual lockdown to fight the spread of the new coronavirus.
“The doors of the mosques will stay closed,” said the ministry of religious endowment in a statement, citing a religious decree.
Kuwait confirmed 20 new cases in the past 24 hours, reporting a total of 100 to Friday, state news agency KUNA said.
The government announced on Wednesday that passenger flights will be cancelled for an undetermined period from midnight on Friday to and from Kuwait’s only international airport.
The measures also provide for a two-week public holiday, ending on March 29, and the closure of gyms, public gardens and the popular Friday market. Restaurants and coffee shops are only allowed to keep delivery services open.
Bahrain ordered the release of hundreds of prisoners on Thursday, according to the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy which linked the decision to efforts to contain the virus.
King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa issued a decree granting pardon for 901 prisoners. A further 585 prisoners will spend the remainder of their sentences in rehabilitation and training programmes, the state-run Bahrain news agency reported.
Dozens more cases of coronavirus have been registered in the Gulf Arab states over the past 24 hours. Saudi Arabia reported 17 additional cases taking its total to 62.
More than 700 cases have been reported to Friday in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. No deaths have been announced so far. Authorities say most of those infected had travelled to Iran, the regional epicentre of the outbreak, or been in contact with returnees.
Iran, one of the countries worst hit by the pandemic outside China, reported 514 deaths and a total of 11,364 cases on Friday.
Qatar has registered 262 cases, Bahrain 210 and the United Arab Emirates 85.
In the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways announced the suspension of flights to and from Rome and Milan on Friday, from March 14. The death toll in Italy passed 1,000, in Europe’s deadliest outbreak. — Reuters